North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited a typhoon-hit mining town in the eastern part of the country and pledged to build at least 25,000 new homes over the next five years, state media reported Wednesday.
Kim visited the Komdok area in South Hamgyong Province, one of the regions where Typhoon Maysak hit hardest last month, to inspect the recovery efforts underway, according to the Korea Central News Agency.
Kim said the damage to the area was more severe than he thought. He also applauded the military’s “high quality” and “sincere” reconstruction efforts.
While inspecting the area, Kim expressed regret over the difficulties residents were facing from living in homes built “half a century ago” and from substandard living conditions, while vowing to rebuild the region into a “model” mining city.
As home to one of the North’s most important natural mineral mines, Komdok produces lead, zinc, magnetite and other resources.
Kim also promised to build around 25,000 new homes in Komdok and the nearby mining areas of Taehung and Ryongyang under a five-year economic development plan to be announced at a party congress slated for January. In the meantime, he promised to use his utmost effort to repair the typhoon damage under the nation’s 80-day campaign, which was announced last week as part of a plan to revive the country’s ailing economy and attain its goals before the congress next year.
The military is building 2,300 new homes in Komdok, for which construction is 60 percent complete, according to the KCNA.
Last month Kim presided over a meeting of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers’ Party to discuss recovery efforts in Komdok and other typhoon-hit areas.
The state media said more than 2,000 dwellings and dozens of public buildings in the area were destroyed or inundated due to the typhoon.
Kim’s visit to the typhoon-hit area came after an appearance earlier this week at a military parade and mass games to mark the 75th anniversary of the ruling party’s founding.
In his speech at the military parade, he shed tears and made a rare apology for failing to lead the country through difficult times exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak, floods and international sanctions.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org